BYOD didn’t kill Cisco’s tablet; it was a doomed idea

Citing employee preferences and the growing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, Cisco(s csco) is no longer investing in the Cius Android(s goog) tablet it announced in 2010. The company says it will instead focus on collaboration software and solutions as workers use a wide range of hardware and enterprises are rushing to support such devices. That’s a great idea from Cisco that’s about two years and one hardware project too late.
From a post on Cicso’s blog:

“Cisco has demonstrated a commitment to delivering innovative software like Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx across a wide spectrum of operating systems, tablets and Smart Phones. We’re seeing tremendous interest in these software offerings. Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences.
Based on these market transitions, Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what’s available today. However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.
Moving forward, we intend to double down on software offerings, like Jabber and WebEx, that provide the anytime, anywhere, and any device experiences. We will leverage key learnings and key collaboration experiences native to Cius in our other collaboration products.”

I recall when my colleague Stacey covered the initial Cius tablet news. She and I discussed the product at length and while it was interesting and newsy enough to report on, I remember pointing out numerous reasons the product had “fail” written all over it.
The main reasons were that mobile technology cycles were revving too fast for a company such as Cisco to keep up, it had little to no differentiation from any competing tablets and the specifications were just plain terrible. Initially the product was slated to run on Intel’s Atom CPU(s intc) and offered super VGA, or 800 x 600 resolution — for a video communications device! The 7-inch screen is now 1024 x 600 but an Atom Z615 chip powers Android 2.2.2, which is software that debuted two years ago.
Instead of focusing on hardware, I mentioned to Stacey, Cisco should stick with software services that enable collaboration. Lo and behold, as the Cius tablet dies a slow, painful death, Cisco is doing exactly that.